Fredonia is a monarchy. Nominally, the heirs of King Fredgar the Conqueror rule from the mighty city Pezopolis over all their subjects.
In practice, however, Pezopolis is a shabby village in the middle of the desert, and the countless fiefs, counties, margravates, vingtaines, bailiwicks and whatever pretty much rule themselves. Because Fredonia's population consists of extremely diverse flotsam from different universes and realities - not all of which react well to being governed by a sentient pez dispenser - a certain lassez-faire is probably the only workable approach to rule such a vast empire.
At the beginning, the Fredonian feudal system was modelled heavily on that of the Balrogs from Rogsylvania (see "Regional Varieties"). Countless changes, reforms and stitch-ups, however, have created a much more complicated status quo. In addition, there are areas in Fredonia where the feudal system is no longer recognized at all (for example, County Hell after its communist revolution) or where a new bourgeois class has acquired enough wealth to bribe and boss the noblemen around at will (especially Capital City). Yet, there are other places where the old system of nobility is still respected and the following outline is more or less accurate.
Although there are countless noblemen in Fredonia, only few get the chance to sit in the Royal Diet and have a say in realm-wide decisions. More precisely, the Diet is made up of:
- representatives of territorial rulers, the so-called "High" or Stoned Nobility
- winners of the Miss Fredonia contest
- survivors of the obscure and rumour-shrouded Bombadil Test.
Territorial powers are designated "immediate" to the Fredonian crown, except the Rogsylvanian balrogs, who are "maybe later." There is a list of territories immediate to Fredonia, for purposes of levying the Common Penny, a tribute of precisely one cent (or a 144th of a gross, which is 18.92 tollers). The complete list of Fredonian territories can be acquired from the archives of Pezopolis.
As there are so many territorial rulers, the Diet is still quite large. For administrative purposes it has been further divided into two banks, on which the noblemen sit: the Citibank and the Gross Bank. To save time in debates and votes, only the large immediate territories have individual voices (which can be either bass, baritone, tenor, mezzo, soprano or contralto). Smaller territories are grouped in eoreds.
There are also some Personalists, who are in the Diet not as representatives of a territory (and also obviously not as Miss Fredonia winners) but for personal merits. These include:
- the Prince of Thurn-Taxis, the richest person in capital city
- Morambar Udunvagor, guru and headmaster of the Fredonian Academy for Tolkien Studies.
In defiance of a popular rumour, the Counts of Sickeningen are not personalists, because no one likes them.
Even more exclusive than the Diet is the group of Electors, a heriditary title for those noblemen who, upon the death of a king, get to elect a new one.
Currently, nine noblemen bear the full style Fredonian Prince-Steward-Elector:
- The Prince-Bishop of the Temple of Tyope, who represents the ecclesiastic powers of Fredonia.
- The Chief Librarian, who, from his residence in the New Library, represents the scholastic powers.
The seven others are secular noblemen:
- The Grand Chef, Elector of Rogsylvania, who originally was not on the list, but the balrogs sort of forced him upon the Crown.
- The Schweingraf, Elector of Tiundaland, whose tusks are a veritable weapon in diet debates. Tiundaland, notably, is Fredonia's only "Schweingravate".
- The Count of Helluvaprofit, or maybe the Margrave of Wetland - these two have been quarreling over the elector title forever. The fact that neither County Helluvaprofit nor Margravate Wetland even exist anymore (they were united and renamed to Hell after the communist revolution, and the nobility was exiled to Pezopolis) has not stopped this ancient feud.
- The Elector of Port Boring, Count Generic de Blah, also exiled after his stronghold was taken over by bands of warring trolls, robber barons and psychophants (they renamed it Port Important in their typical hubris). Count de Blah, however, is well-known for his extraordinary countenance - sometimes wrongly labelled "apathy" by his enemies - and seems quite happy to spend his life between the Court in Pezopolis and the roulette tables of Capital City.
- The Eelctor, lord of the EEEEeelery, who has the reputation of being slippery.
- The Elector of the Finns, selected by this hardy tribe in their traditional "Who sits longer in this anthill" contest. Because of Fredonia's extraordinarily ferocious ants, however, no elector has survived long enough to actually vote in the past 100 years. Thus usually only 8 electors are present at a king's election - given that de Blah can be convinced to turn up.
- The Grand Duke-Prince of Amnesia, whose domain is so insignificant that nobody knows where it is. He claims it was destroyed by a meteorite, but that may well be a story to cover up the embarrassing fact that he just forgot it. Some cynics even doubt that this domain ever existed. (Other cynics speculate that he might be the lost elector of Pezopolis itself, and the "meteorite" actually was a polo ball that knocked him over and caused his amnesia. They claim the incident was covered up because the guilty polo player was a very high-ranking Court member.)
Other Noblemen (-women, -things)
Of the numerous other noblepersons in Fredonia, the following classes are worth mentioning:
Those are divided into 3 circles (of Humidor, Fredonia, and the Ouiskie), not counting the Triangle of Eel-knights.
There are two categories of new princely houses: bribe-houses and fee-houses (some polo champions are exempt of paying a fee). Some other noblemen with special duties also have princely rank, such as the Imperial Pez-Filler, who keeps the King, um, well-stacked.
Rich polluters have the rank of Junker.
The Wildgrafen, or Wild Counts, throw wild parties.
In rare cases, there are immediate territorial rulers without a title at all. These are called Losers.
Also, there are rumours of nattering nabobs.
Younger sons of rulers usually get territories as appanages (often named after their favorite roulette-table or bordello). Also, some of the richer capitalists (or "burghers") successfully pressured the royalty for titles of their own, such as the Burgher King. All this can lead to further division and fracturing of the empire.
Of course, there are reverse processes, too, as noble lines may die out or, as in the case of the Grand Duke-Prince of Amnesia, whole fiefs may get "lost" in dubious circumstances. Another example is the Anarchate of Qyool, led by a nobleman known as The Dood, where people could do whatever they wanted. This fief completely disappeared after its capital Blogolopolis was destroyed by an unknown force and reduced to a smouldering crater (perhaps this was just what someone wanted, though). The Landgravate of Punicola narrowly avoided a similar fate when Rogsylvania's representatives at the Diet absent-mindedly snacked on two thirds of its population.